A car. A camera. Endless possibilities.
Jim Brown photos.
Jim Brown can be reached at peijim@hotmail.com



Decked out for Canada Day
Photos by Jim Brown

No parades, no large events and scaled down celebrations everywhere. That is the reality of Canada Day 2020 for a country under the shadow of a deadly pandemic. Across the Island fewer Maple Leaf flags were flying in the days leading to July 1. But the residents of Riverside Drive, in North Rustico, kept up a proud tradition and provided an impressive display for passersby.


Summer is almost here
Photo by Jim Brown

June 15, Stanley Bridge. After several days of cool temperatures and soaking rain summer-like weather finally arrived, with this Rattenbury Road resident enjoying the rays near her dock on the Stanley River.


Kensington Heritage Library stirs to life
Photos by Jim Brown

Nobody is happier to see Island libraries begin to stir back to life than Shelley Tamtom, librarian at the Kensington Heritage Library. But no visitors are allowed into the library yet, due to coronavirus concerns, so greeting book-lovers from behind the window of the library’s door will have to do for now for Shelley.

Visitors, however, could finally drop off books they borrowed before the pandemic in the library’s book drop, which was unsealed on June 1. The books will be stored safely for up to three days before human hands can touch them. There are also free books available for anyone who wants them at an outdoor display.

On June 1, the Kensington Heritage Library was one of six across the Island to reopen with curbside service. More libraries were to follow (curbside service) on the week of June 8, including the Hunter River library.

Book lovers everywhere on PEI can rejoice. Their overdue books aren’t due back until the end of June.


Happy tails
Photos by Jim Brown


Getting the message out
Photos by Jim Brown

An eye-catching front yard display at this Kensington residence drove home the importance of social distancing to passing motorists.


Mussel boat glides in
Photos by Jim Brown

On April 7 a mussel harvesting boat was spotted at the Stanley Bridge wharf on a day when ice was breaking up under mild temperatures. Could this be a sign spring might finally be here?


Century and a half old barn torn down
Photos by Jim Brown

A barn near Kensington, owned by Carl Thompson, was demolished on March 6.

He said part of the the barn had been around for 150 years. Carl’s father and grandfather had owned it before him.

Mr Thompson, who also owns Kensington-based Thompson Well Drilling & Geothermal, said the barn had suffered significant damage to its back end in a recent storm. The barn, filled with bales of hay, hadn’t been in use for quite some time.


Preparing for the spring lobster fishery
Photos by Jim Brown

There’s always work to be done if you’re a lobster fishermen, even in the dead of winter. North Rustico fisherman Barry Doucette drove several traps to the North Rustico wharf on Feb 29, in preparation for the opening of the spring lobster fishery in April. Barry makes the traps in the comfort of his own home during the winter months.


Burning brush in Cavendish
Photos by Jim Brown

Visitors to Cavendish recently may have noticed tendrils of smoke curling skywards from fires set behind downed spruce trees in the PEI National Park. But there was nothing to worry about.

Parks Canada crews were continuing cleanup efforts in forested areas, including areas of heavy spruce blow downs, caused by post-tropical storm Dorian in September. “By cutting down leaning and damaged trees, and burning the brush, the cleanup effort also serves as a wildfire risk reduction strategy in areas of high human use”, according to Parks Canada personnel.

The small controlled fires shown in these photos were set a short distance down the road from the Cavendish Visitor Information Centre.


A fox drops by
Photo by Paul Gauthier

Cornwall resident Paul Gauthier is one of PEI’s best known wildlife photographers. He recently took this photo of a red fox, against a snowy backdrop, in his backyard.


Using fire to clean up after Dorian
Photos by Jim Brown

Margate resident Mark Woodside took advantage of snow covered ground to help clean up after Dorian. On Dec. 30 he set fire to several piles of brush and tree limbs on his mother’s property. Post-tropical storm Dorian devastated PEI in early September and many property owners across the Island are still struggling to remove downed trees and brush.


North Rustico ablaze with the Christmas spirit
Photos by Jim Brown

It wouldn’t be the holidays in North Rustico without this wonderful Christmas light show, which draws visitors from across the Island.


Blowing in the wind
Photos by Jim Brown

Fierce winds, with gusts up to 100 km an hour, hampered traffic across the Confederation Bridge and made driving treacherous throughout much of the Island on Dec 15-16. The strong winds also clawed at protective tarps covering bales of hay near Clinton.


A festive dog
Photos by Jim Brown

Kensington resident Jack Horne was walking his dog around town on Nov 18. It was a chilly day but Starr, dressed in a colorful, Christmas-themed vest, was well protected from the cold. The six-year-old dog is an emotional support dog for Jack, who has served in the military. She is the youngest of two dogs in the family.



Blowing in the wind
Photos by Jim Brown

Fierce gusts of wind, up to 80 km an hour, battered the Island on Nov 1, causing outages across PEI. The strong winds also caused piles of leaves to be blown onto streets and in front of cars and pedestrians in North Rustico.


Shock and awe as Cavendish Campground visitors witness complete devastation
Photos by Jim Brown

They came from everywhere on PEI – their cars jamming Parks Canada’s parking lot on Oct 28. All to witness for themselves the damage caused by Hurricane Dorian more than a month and a half ago at the Cavendish Campground. Many had camped there as recently as last summer or decades earlier.

“It’s unbelievable what Mother Nature can do,” said a Summerside man, attending the open house organized by Parks Canada.

“This will never recover in a generation, will it?” asked John Lewis.

“This is going to hit tourism up here with the campers, for sure,” said John, who was accompanied by his wife Cathy.
He described the damage to the campground and over much of the Island as similar to that of an ‘atomic bomb’.

Visitors stared at the ruined landscape in front of them in utter disbelief. Would it even reopen this summer? several asked.
The answer was ‘yes’ according to Parks Canada staff on hand for the open house. But at least person doubted that would happen for a decade.

More than a third of the parking lot was filled with trees skinned of their branches and limbs. All told, more than 80 per cent of trees in the campground had been downed by Dorian.

A Parks Canada official stated 400 cords worth of downed trees would be used for firewood. Other options for the rest of the trees are being looked into.

Massive numbers of trees continue to be hauled out of the campground.

Click an image below to view in lightbox


A squirmy catch
Photos by Jim Brown

On Oct 7 New London resident George Dowdle, an eel fisherman for the past 20 years, lifted the lid on a box filled with more than 55 pounds of wriggling eels. He later hoisted one of the bigger ones. In another photo George is standing next to an eel net, known as a fyke net, about 20 feet long with a 100 foot leader. The eels, after entering the net, move to the end closest to George (in the photo), where they are removed.

Many eel fishermen on the Island have pulled their nets from productive waters because of plunging prices and shrinking demand, caused largely by a glut in the market. But George, who earns most of his income from fishing oysters, is not one of them. He found a private buyer from Ontario for this catch.

The commercial eel season ends on Oct 25, running just two months.

George says extensive conservation measures practiced by local eel fishermen with the co-operation of the DFO, including the short season, have helped keep the fishery in good shape.

“We’re limited by the number of live trap nets. Most of the people that I know who fish are very responsible when it comes to sustainability.”


Cattle call
Photos by Jim Brown

A neighbor successfully corralled this cow, which took a morning stroll on Highway 6, near the Stanley Bridge roundabout, on Sunday, Sept 22.


Hurricane Dorian cleanup continues
Photos by Jim Brown

Limbs and branches of trees uprooted by Hurricane Dorian are filling IWMC facilities across the Island, including the New London Waste Watch Drop Off Centre. Photos taken Sept 20.


Paddling through Dorian
Photos by Jim Brown

Burlington, Ontario residents Mandy and Ian Johnston barely got across the Confederation Bridge on Sept 7 before Hurricane Dorian forced its closure. They had planned to kiteboard and surf during their week on the Island and two days after the hurricane struck they were doing just that in North Rustico Harbour.


Parade of boats followed by dazzling fireworks
Photos by Jim Brown

A stiffening breeze just before launch time made the Pirates and Mermaids boat parade an uncertain proposition on Aug 24, but in the end hundreds of onlookers at the Stanley Bridge wharf were not to be disappointed. The procession of illuminated boats, a marquee event in the 17th annual River Days Festival, went ahead almost on schedule. The parade was followed by a spectacular fireworks show organized by the New London Rural Fire Company. About an hour before first responders’ vehicles travelled, with their sirens activated and lights flashing, several times through the Stanley Bridge Roundabout.


After $80,000 worth of renos, a splash of paint
Photos by Jim Brown

A total of $80,000 worth of renovations are just about completed at the Stanley Bridge Centre. A coat of paint was applied to much of the exterior on Aug 13-15. The work was completed in time for the building’s only farmer’s market of the season, featuring produce, crafts, art and much more – running Saturday, Aug 24, from 10 am to 2 pm. The building will also be open a day earlier, part of the official launch of Stanley Bridge River Days.

Click an image below to view in lightbox

A whacking good time
Jim Brown photos

The Third Annual World Anti-Trump League bash on Aug 3 drew several progressive Americans who summered on PEI, joined by Islanders who shared the same fierce opposition to America’s current president. The morale-boosting party was hosted at the Stanley Bridge home of Eleanor Hora. It was truly a celebration of resistance, with invited guests treated to a lavish spread of Trump-themed finger foods and novelty items. Vladimir Putin, Boris Johnson, Maxime Bernier and others were also given the raspberry. One of the highlights of the afternoon’s unforgettable slate of events included the opportunity to don a blindfold and swing a baseball bat at several piñatas, including those of Donald Trump. Winning swats were rewarded with torrents of candy.

 


History for sale?
Jim Brown photos

A for sale sign is partially hidden behind tall grasses near a faded church, circa 1890. These photos were taken on the Freetown Road, towards Bedeque.


A sea of fans at the Carrie Underwood show.
Photos courtesy Al Douglas, Cavendish Beach Music Festival

The stars came out at night at the Cavendish Beach Music Festival and so did the fans, in their thousands, to catch a once-in-a-lifetime performance by Nashville superstar Carrie Underwood on Island soil on July 6. More than 25,000 fans packed the CBMF grounds, many waiting hours in drenching rain. But the wait was worth it when the skies cleared and Carrie Underwood took to the stage.


Fans of the festival
Jim Brown photos

The Cavendish Beach Music Festival kicked off on July 5 under sunny, blue skies and soaring temperatures. Only a couple of hours into the festival this welcome board was filled with names and messages, to which these beaming country music fans added their comments.


Tourist season has arrived
Jim Brown photos

The tourist season is officially open in New London, with several visitors dropping by the birthplace of Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of the world’s most beloved red-headed orphan, on June 28.


Something eye-catching in Stanley Bridge man’s driveway
Jim Brown photos

Rattenbury Road resident John McDowell has a new boat in his driveway that he plans to have on the water shortly, once some basic maintenance is completed.

The aptly named, head-turning Lil Tugger is a 21-foot Ranger tug boat, manufactured in 2016 in Kent, Washington, just outside of Seattle. Mr McDowell purchased Lil Tugger in Ontario on May 1. It’s engine has about 80 hours on it, he said


 


A splash of colour for the tourist season
Photos by Jim Brown

Joyce Ling got out her brush to add a splash of color to the popular Seagull’s Nest Gift Shop in North Rustico recently. Unfortunately the dock at the back, which was damaged by heavy ice in early April, won’t be refurbished as easily.


Fading glory: PEI’s derelict properties
Photos by Jim Brown
Abandoned buildings are scattered throughout the Island. Like once living creatures they are falling into an advanced state of decomposition – but they still retain a rustic, shopworn charm. Drive down the Rattenbury Road from North Granville and turn onto Highway 2 towards Hunter River and within five minutes you will likely see three of the properties featured in this photo essay, along with a number of others. Visit the outskirts of North Rustico, just past the wharf where lobster boats are berthed for the spring fishery, and it won’t take long to notice other derelict buildings. It’s a safe bet they won’t be found in the province’s tourism brochures.

Highway 2, near Stanley Bridge turnoff

North Rustico


Highway 2, towards Hunter River


Rattenbury Road, North Granville

Highway 2, near the Stanley Bridge turnoff


Gobbler takes a stroll in Stanley Bridge
Photos by Jim Brown
On April 26, shortly after 8 am, a turkey was spotted on the Rattenbury Road near the Sutherland Lane turnoff. At the nearby Race Trac gas station speculation swirled among customers about whether the turkey was one of several wild ones in the area or if it escaped from a local farmer.


Lamb on the loose on Easter Sunday
Photos by Jim Brown

There was a little more excitement than usual around the home of Harvey MacDonald during noon hour Easter Sunday. One of the family’s lambs escaped from its barn across the road and he rushed out to corral it. Mr MacDonald, who lives near New Glasgow, looks after 120 lambs and 180 ewes. Needless to say it was an Easter Sunday everyone will remember


Blowing in the wind
Photos by Jim Brown

Protective plastic covers, stripped from bales of hay, were found clinging to fence posts near Cavendish on April 5, blown by fierce, early spring winds.


Dressed for the weather
Photos by Jim Brown

These two winterized whippets were discovered, along with their owner, walking the edge of a farmer’s field near the Stanley Bridge roundabout recently. They likely won’t need those clothing accessories for much longer.

 


Big melt hits Stanley Bridge
Photos by Jim Brown

The big melt was on in Stanley Bridge and across PEI on the weekend of March 22. Heavy rain and sharply rising temperatures were expected to cause road and driveway washouts, swollen streams and rivers and flooded basements throughout the Island. Large volumes of water also blasted through culverts along the Rattenbury Road onto the still frozen Stanley River.


From backyard rink to swimming pool
Photos by Jim Brown

Over the space of just a couple of days in early March this frozen field of dreams, an outdoor hockey rink in Cavendish, was transformed into a large pool of water, thanks to sharply rising temperatures.

From hockey rink

To swimming pool


Snow clearing day in Stanley Bridge
Photos by Jim Brown

PEI had one of the largest snowfalls of the season on March 3-4 and plows were hard at work removing mountains of the white stuff from driveways, parking lots and roads, including this plow blasting snow from a lane on the Rattenbury Road.


 


Fire destroys nearly two century old farmhouse in Stanley Bridge
Jim Brown photos
The home was more than 190-years-old and in the Fyfe family for six generations, but in just a few hours it was gone, consumed by fire.
Firefighters from the New London, New Glasgow and Kensington fire departments raced to the blaze in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Feb 20 but were unable to save Alfred Fyfe’s farmhouse, though all four people and their pets inside at the time escaped without injury.
Smoke could be still be seen wafting to the sky from hundreds of metres away by late afternoon.


Big thaw followed by the big chill
Jim Brown photos
Photos taken in Margate, Feb. 16. Roads and highways, fields and streams everywhere across the Island were flooded with water from rapidly thawing snowbanks. But large pools of standing water were to quickly turn to ice a short time later after frigid temperatures returned to the region.


Libraries are more than just books
Jim Brown photos
Jan 25 was Pie Day at the Kensington Heritage Library, with more than a dozen delicious pies of all kinds donated for the special event. Also during the afternoon Kensington resident Bob Millette and 11-year-old Zoe Carroll, originally from British Columbia but living in Kensington, got a chance to indulge one of their favorite pastimes. Mr Millette is impressed at the talent displayed by young chess players, including a seven-year-old who won three straight games against him.
“I think he let me win the fourth game,” he said, with a laugh.


Ragged Flags
Jim Brown photos
Winter has taken a heavy toll on flags throughout PEI, including this ragged flag at the New London Community Complex (Jan 25).


Stanley Bridge Wall
Jim Brown photos

Someone made this laneway impossible to access by motorized vehicle. On one side of a makeshift barrier comprised of a large limb, branches and rope is the Rattenbury Road and on the other are track marks that were likely created by a snowmobile.


Pretty traps all in a row
Little was stirring in early January at the North Rustico wharf, but there was still plenty for visitors to see, including hundreds of snow-filled lobster traps ready for the start of the 2019 spring lobster fishery in April.
Jim Brown photos


Christmas lights are shining

Motorists travelling along Highway 6 to Cavendish and North Rustico in December wouldn’t have far to drive to see homes bedecked for the Christmas season.
Jim Brown photos


Broken home
Motorists driving through the North Granville area would likely have seen this arresting sight. If they looked closely, they would have also noticed a string of outdoor Christmas lights attached to the exterior.
Photo by Jim Brown


Canada geese lingering longer than many snowbirds
Anyone walking or driving past the By The River Restaurant in Hunter River on Nov 15 would have likely been astonished at the number of Canada Geese assembled on the Clyde River during one of the coldest days of the month. There were so many the skies suddenly darkened when hundreds took flight at once.


Photos by Jim Brown


Sign suffers wind damage
A fierce storm, with gusts topping 100 km an hour, lashed Prince Edward Island and much of the Maritimes overnight Nov 3 and into the early morning hours of Nov 4, leaving tens of thousands of Islanders without power. It also downed numerous trees and caused damage to buildings and other structures, including this sign at the Kensington Library.


It’s harvest season, and Halloween, in Cavendish
Halloween has arrived in Cavendish, judging by this impressive display, which has probably turned more than a few motorists’ heads over the past several years.




Photos by Jim Brown


PEI Marathon held under nearly ideal weather conditions
The 15th Annual Prince Edward Island Marathon drew hundreds of spectators and thousands of participants in 10 race categories to Charlottetown’s downtown on Oct 14.

The races were held under sunny skies, but with a crisp snap in the air.

Participants, from young children to seniors, were quickly bundled in foil thermal wrappers to combat the chill once they arrived at the finish line, at the end of University Avenue near the Confederation Centre. Many were greeted by friends and family members, and even their pets. Bear River’s Stan Chaisson won the men’s marathon, while the women’s marathon was captured by Charlottetown’s Amber Spriggs.

Click on an image below for full image slideshow.

Photos by Jim Brown


Big-hearted bikers visit Kensington
As many as 80 bikes, representing at least eight different motorcycle organizations across PEI, made a half hour pitstop at the Kensington Bakin’ Donuts on Sept 15. The bike-owners and their passengers were part of a ride to raise money to help the families of children with cancer. Included in the event, billed the “Cancer Can’t Catch Me Ride, Show and Shine,” were Island chapters of the Guardians of the Children Canada, a fierce advocate in the fight against child abuse.

The ride was the brainchild of Andrea Morrison and Colin Jennings, who had been organizing the event since last October. Andrea and Colin are with the Canadian Lonewolves Independent Riders of Canada. Their ride was supported by the PEI Cancer Society.

Andrea, a cancer survivor, said September was the perfect time to launch the rally, since that month is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

She estimated approximately $2,600 had been raised in the event, which took riders from Charlottetown, to Kinkora, Kensington and the Cavendish area.

All proceeds go to support the families of children with cancer.

It’s much more difficult for families when a child has cancer, said Andrea.

Children with more serious cancers may have to go further than the Halifax IWK for treatment, such as Toronto, and that can add to costs.

Many families face serious financial strain because their children could spend days, weeks, months or longer off Island and the cost of everything from bridge tolls to gas, food and motel stays can be expensive, said Andrea, adding trips may have to be made several times before treatment is completed.

“We had an excellent turnout of riders,” she said.

“I, and several of our organizers are cancer survivors, so this cause is close to our hearts.”

All participating riders paid a registration fee and another fee if they wanted to show their bikes.

Click on an image below for full image slideshow.

Photos by Jim Brown


Come for the fish and chips, stay for the art
Captain Scott’s Fish and Chips in Cavendish has certainly struck a chord with many diners who used a very visual form of expression to show their appreciation. Every wall inside the restaurant is covered with little scraps of paper filled with heartfelt messages, as well as intricate sketches and doodles. Among the thousands and thousands of notes were countless Anne of Green Gables-themed messages.

Photos by Jim Brown


Fields of canola fill the horizon
Rolling fields of canola stretching as far as the eye could see greeted motorists on Highway 2, near the Rattenbury Road turnoff. Several cars were parked on the shoulder on July 23, as their drivers rushed out to snap photos of this beautiful scene. Included among them was the woman in this photo.


Photo by Jim Brown


Walking the wedding dress

Marcel Robichaud and Candice Millar started their new life together as a married couple by walking Candice’s wedding dress across the Stanley Bridge Resort’s parking lot on July 14. The happy couple were married the day before at Clinton Hills.






Photos by Jim Brown


Hoping for a birthday greeting from Luke

Tens of thousands of fans lined up early to see their idol perform on the main stage on July 8, the third day of the Cavendish Beach Music Festival. These fans were obviously hoping Luke Bryan would see their sign and send a special birthday greeting.


Jim Brown photos


Now that’s a lot of trash for a music concert

The Cavendish Music Beach Festival will generate an amazing amount of waste during its four day run. On Saturday volunteers, parents of children playing on the U-16 Eastern Braves softball team, were already up to their armpits dealing with tens of thousands of plastic and glass bottles, not to mention discarded footstuffs and other throwaway items.

By the time it is all over several tonnes of cans, glass bottles and plastic containers will have been sorted and taken to recyclers. A volunteer estimated the total could easily reach 250,000.

And that’s not all. Volunteers were finding sandals, umbrellas and portable chairs left on the grounds, the result of a sudden, fierce thunderstorm shortly after noon on July 6, that sent many scrambling for cover. Judging by past years they expect to find plenty of other lost or discarded articles including alcohol tokens and cash bills of up $20 or more.


First the rain, then the sun and then the fun begins

The Road Hammers were one of several acts to hit the stage Friday evening (July 6) with an energetic, rousing performance that included some impressive pyrotechnics. Shortly before noon thunderstorms caused many concert-goers to seek shelter, with rumbling sounds of thunder in their ears. But just a few hours later, except for a few large puddles, there was little evidence of the deluge.


Bound for the Atlantic Veterinary College
Jim Brown photos

Brittney Dow, a tireless volunteer at Yogi Fell’s 100-acre horse sanctuary in South Granville, just received some terrific news. The UPEI student, who lives in Charlottetown, was accepted into the Atlantic Veterinary College. Dow, who overcame a serious medical challenge, says much of the credit for her success belongs to her mentor, Yogi. A feature on Brittney will appear shortly on the Stanley Bridge Centre’s website.


Power out for nearly three hours in Stanley Bridge, North Granville, Cavendish area
Maritime Electric workers were on the scene in a hurry after a power pole was struck by a farm vehicle Saturday morning, June 16. The top part was sheared off and the pole had to be replaced along with several wires. Power was out from approximately 10 am to just before 1 pm, in the North Granville, Stanley Bridge, New London and Cavendish area. The photos were taken in North Granville, near Taylor Road.
Jim Brown photos


Working the land in Hope River
Story and photos by Jim Brown

Alexander (Sandy) MacKay, a certified organic farmer in Hope River, was busy readying his land in Hope River recently for buckwheat. Mr MacKay owns Alexander Fresh Vegetables.


Road being widened in Hunter River
Story and photos by Jim Brown

Winter has been banished for weeks and Prince Edward Island’s second season is already in full swing, with a major road widening project underway on Highway 13 in Hunter River. The project includes a new bike lane. Many visitors to By the River bakery and restaurant had to be directed to and from the eatery by flaggers.


House razed on Victoria Day in Kensington
Story and photos by Jim Brown

Motorists travelling through Kensington on Victoria Day morning, near the Haunted Mansion, would have likely caught a glimpse of a vacant home being knocked down to rubble. The unoccupied structure, except for a startled cat which bolted to safety, was being torn down by a Waugh’s Construction crew to make way for a new Haunted Mansion building.


 
Top 20 singer, Rachel Beck, shoots video in Stanley Bridge
Story and photos by Jim BrownAcclaimed Charlottetown singer Rachel Beck and her crew were in Stanley Bridge on Saturday, May 12. But they weren’t there to enjoy the spring blossoms and a panoramic view of the Stanley River. They were making a music video.They had set up at the bridge on the Rattenbury Road, keeping a wary eye on traffic since Rachel had to walk across the road several times, accompanied by her video’s co-stars.”Just watch yourself with the cars,” warned her director.

“Remember to stay kind of tucked together,” said another crew member.

“Eyes straight ahead, glasses off,” said someone else.

Also overheard: “You mind just yelling ‘car”?

“We’re making a music video for my new single Hearts On Fire,” said Rachel.

“It’s going to radio next Friday, May 18, across the country, hopefully on CBC Music. It’ll be about three or four minutes.

“It’s just about breaking out of your normal routine and taking chances.”

An earlier single, Reckless Heart debuted at No. 13 on CBC Radio 2’s Top 20 list.

Rachel Beck, wearing scarf, and cast and crew members.

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